Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tone deaf in social media?

Is tone deafness in social media a growing (or ongoing) problem? I would argue "yes" based on some examples I’ve seen recently.

The online
Merriam Webster dictionary defines tone deaf as a noun meaning "relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch."

This sounds (pun intended) to me just like a description of some folks who operate in social media apparently oblivious to the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) messages they are sending.

Three examples I’ve seen in the past week:

• A teacher comments on a student’s video that has been shared on their program-related Facebook page saying, among other things that the video is “dumb.” Forget that the teacher seems to have missed the point that the video was meant to be a light-hearted spoof and just think about how the student must now feel after this public comment.
Bottomline: The teacher, for all to see, seems to be publicly putting down a student.

• An editor of a community newspaper asks via Twitter if the newspaper should publish graphic photos of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi after he has been killed. In the tweet there is a link to those graphic photos. Forget that this is being asked at least 18 hours before anyone could see these images in print and that anyone who wants to (or doesn’t want to) see them can’t avoid them on online news websites and such sites as Google News.
Bottomline: The editor seems unaware that publishing a link to graphic images on Twitter is, in fact, a form of publishing.

• At a conference a professor talks about how growing social influence is important for individuals and businesses and admits that he demands students friend him on Facebook before they graduate otherwise he may be unwilling to help them later. Forget that anyone at the conference can look at his presences on Facebook and Twitter, for example, and see that he has relatively small circles of followers and friends.
Bottomline: The professor seems unaware that any claims about influence in social media are easily checked.

Of course it's easy to point up the deficiencies in others when I know I have my own – including not always responding in a timely manner and not always following back or accepting connection requests from everyone and anyone.

But am I wrong about this? Is social media really that hard to figure out? Folks, whatever you say on a social network can and will be seen by others … be smart.

What do you think?

7 comments:

  1. Mike, good points.

    There is certainly a mix of people in social media. Like the teacher and professor you mention, some are diving in, trying to make use of it or positioning themselves as knowing social media, when their actions show they don't. In the case of the elementary teacher, the impact it has is just sad.

    Another type of social media participant is blinded by their focus on results. Is the editor really dumb, or is he promoting his site and story, using something other than the typical headline? Disrespectful to the audience, yes. Purely self-interested, yes.

    Hopefully he knows the images were published. I think people like this, abusing social media (in my opinion) for their own gain, are even bigger issues with social media today.

    Provocative thoughts, thanks for sharing!

    -- @wittlake

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  2. Thanks for the comments Eric. There are probably volumes to be written on how people misuse social media to "get" something!

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  3. Great article. Everyone has finally realized that social media is a necessity in this day and age. However, that doesn't mean people know what they're doing. Many people jump in to social media because they feel they need to, then grossly misuse it and do more damage to themselves than not having any social media presence. For some, a social media company might be a good idea before they go ahead and destroy their image. Thanks

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  4. This sounds (pun intended) to me just like a description of some folks who operate in social free instagram followers without following back media apparently oblivious to the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) messages they are sending.

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  6. The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines tone deaf as a noun meaning "relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch. realigfollowers.net

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